Davao: ‘Brighter streets, future’ for rebel-cleared Davao Norte village


Davao City – A former New People’s Army (NPA) infiltrated village in Davao del Norte town has benefited from a solar lighting project extended by the government and a partner stakeholder.

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Officials of the Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade (1003rd IBde), indigenous community leaders, local government officials, and representatives from Jamie V. Ongpin Foundation Inc. witnessed the ceremonial lighting of the newly-installed solar lights Monday evening in Sitio Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

Dubbed as “Suga sa Katawhan,” the 400 solar streetlight project will be distributed to 32 sub-communities of the barangay and is expected to illuminate the streets along the Panpan Road.

In an interview, Brig. Gen. Consolito Yecla, 1003rd IBde commander, said they will finish the installation of the 400 solar lights in a month.

“It will give you hope despite the adversities that come in your way,” Yecla said, adding that the project may not solve all the village’s problems, “but will somehow give residents hope for a better future, especially for their children.”

“They will now have a light for their modular classes. We hope it will inspire you to work and hope to inspire others [sector] to give more for the Indigenous People (IP),” he added.

Yecla underscored the fact that the former NPA-influenced area is now free from the vestiges of insurgency.

A total of 206 IPs in Talaingod town who were members of various NPA fronts had earlier surrendered and declared “pagsalikway” or rejection of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA.

The surrenderers included eight members of the NPA Sub-Regional Guerrilla Unit (SRGU)/Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) 5; Bakwits — five; Milisyang Bayan (MB) — six; Komiteng Rebolusyonaryo sa Munisipal (KRM) — four; Komiteng Rebolusyonaryo sa Baryo (KRB) — 168; Salugpungan teachers and students — 15.

The group also signed the oath of allegiance to the government and burned the replica of the NPA flag, signifying that they are abandoning the dismantled communist organization in the province.

“It [insurgency] has ended. We hope we will unite and encourage other members of the NPA to surrender,” Yecla said.

As a response, Lutenant Tausan Apoga alias Macky, former commanding officer of Sub-Regional Guerrilla Unit (SRGU), urged the IPs to support the project of the government.

“I joined the NPA believing that the government is not working for the people. But look now, they are doing everything to help us through various projects in our communities,” he said.

Macky admitted that when he knew that various projects were done in Talaingod town, he voluntarily surrendered and urged the IPs to support the government in its peace efforts.

Meanwhile, kagawad (village councilor) Intot Juan of Barangay Nasilaban thanked the military and the foundation for the donated solar lights.

“We see the real light now. Thank you for the support you have given to our barangays,” he said.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (Che Palicte)

(Source: Philippine News Agency)

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